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Today’s Prayer Focus

The Equalizer 3

also known as “Equalizer 3 - The Final Chapter,” “The Equalizer 3 - The final Chapter,” “A védelmező 3.,” “El justiciero: Capítulo final,” “Equalizer 3: Poslední kapitola,” “Kutsuge McCall 3: viimane peatükk,” “O Protetor: Capítulo Final,” See more »
MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for strong bloody violence and some language.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Action Crime Thriller Adaptation Sequel IMAX
Length: 1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: September 1, 2023 (wide release)
DVD: November 14, 2023
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
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What is JUSTICE? What does the Bible say about it? Answer

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Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Films that feature brutal, graphic, bloody violence

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring Denzel WashingtonRobert McCall, retired U.S. Marine and former DIA officer
Dakota FanningEmma Collins-Plummer, CIA
Eugenio MastrandreaGio Bonucci
David DenmanFrank Conroy
Gaia ScodellaroAminah
Remo GironeEnzo Arisio
Andrea ScarduzioVincent Quaranta
Salvatore RuoccoVincent’s right hand man
Andrea DoderoMarco Quaranta
Melissa LeoSusan Plummer
Daniele PerroneAngelo
See all »
Director Antoine Fuqua
Producer Columbia Pictures
Escape Artists
See all »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures. Trademark logo.
Columbia Pictures
, a division of Sony Pictures

Unnecessarily extreme gruesome violence

Prequels: “The Equalizer (2014), “The Equalizer 2” (2018)

Robert Mccall (Denzel Washington) has been trying to keep a low profile; well “trying” might be putting it mildly. Ever since he retired from being an agent for the DIA, he has been pursuing, shall I say, other private endeavors, such as going after drug kingpins in Sicily.

As he is trying to leave from one of his missions in Sicily, he, unknowingly, is shot in the back (literally) by a young boy. He makes his way to a boat, across the shores and passes out, from the bullet wound, during a drive.

When Robert awakes, he finds he is in the home of a local hometown doctor named Enzo Arisio. The doctor informs him that he has removed the bullet from his back and that a local friend, and respected officer (a carabinieri), named Gio, found him on the side of the road, and that if Gio hadn’t found him, Robert would be dead. Robert finds out he is in the small village of Altamonte, Italy.

Robert states he is incredibly grateful for Enzo’s hospitality and is invited to stay with Enzo until he is fully healed. Gio also visits Robert at one point and assures him that his secret identity will remain a secret as long as he doesn’t involve the local town people.

Over time, Robert comes to grow very fond of Altamonte. He begins to ponder his past decisions, how many individuals he has killed and the reasoning behind each and every kill. He begins to wonder what it would be like to just settle, no more killing, no more chasing down criminals, no more dangerous pursuits. In time, the people of Altamonte grow fond of Robert. They begin to consider him one of them. But Robert’s peace is shortlived.

For indeed, a local Italian mafia family, the Camorra’s, have been terrorizing the good people of Altamonte. The Camorra family are headed by two heartless and ruthless individuals, Vincent and his younger brother Marco. Their goal? To drive the citizens out of their homes by any means necessary in order to turn Altamonte into a hotel, resort and casino. Even this is just a distraction from a much bigger operation—drug smuggling through means of a Sicilian winery.

Robert will do whatever it takes to protect the people of Altamonte, even if it means enlisting the help of an unlikely source, the CIA.

I’m going to become a bit, shall I say, philosophical for a moment here, so please bear with me as I try to break down my thoughts. Let me just start with this blanket statement…

I’ve seen a ton of action movies in my day. I may be a “young soul” but I’ve seen enough action flicks to know that every action film follows a formula of sorts. The movie starts with a protagonist that you’re not really sure you’re supposed to like or not, but very quickly you come to realize that “hey he’s not so bad after all” (for example, Robert in the “Equalizer” films). Then this so-called protagonist goes through these existential crises, some that are rather ridiculous (such as the character Dom in the “Fast and the Furious” films) and has to somehow “save the day” because people you would think would, sensibly, save the day, say like, LAW ENFORCEMENT, are incapable of doing it. Why? No one really knows? Most law enforcement in action films are sadly depicted as incompetent. At the end of the film everyone cheers, even though to get to the desired conclusion a TON of chaos and violence occurred, and the audience is caused to feel that the “ends justifies the means.”

Alright, I’m finished being philosophical. I’ll get straight to the point. Depicting violence in movies for the sake of violence is just plain wrong. No matter how you try to justify it or explain it, taking a life is taking a life. In the case of “The Equalizer 3” we witness Robert struggling with this issue. He has taken SO MANY LIVES he now juggles with the harsh reality of whether he can ever be “good.” As I once read, “Robert has always struggled and measured whether going after certain characters was worth it. He never just jumps into it.” I thought about that as I went into my screening of “The Equalizer 3”.

Yet, justifying and “okay-ing” the carnage on screen in “The Equalizer 3” simply because Robert occasionally contemplates his reasoning for killing certain individuals is like saying, “Well John Wick only killed characters in his films originally because The Red Circle killed his deceased wife’s dog, so his killings are justified.” Sorry, I’m not buying it. Violence as entertainment is still violence, and the violence in The Equalizer, while it doesn’t occur as often as the previous films, is so incredibly horrendous that I almost felt like throwing up (e.g., There is a scene where we witness someone’s head fall completely off).

Denzel Washington’s performance, honestly, is the only thing that really saves this film. He does his best with a script in which the dialog is just plain stale and tediously boring. Dakota Fanning’s performance is inspiring at times, as if she was forcing herself to be in the role of the CIA agent. I wish I could’ve seen her in a much stronger role, as I know she is a very talented actress with much to offer.

The pacing of the film is fairly strong and the camera work nicely done, with some beautiful views of both Sicily and Altamonte.

Content of Concern

*Caution: Graphic violent descriptions ahead. Reader discretion is STRONGLY advised. Please also note I did not list every instance, as some moments are extremely inappropriate for describing here.

VIOLENCE: The opening scene provides viewers with an extended sequence showing dead, bloodied and scarred corpses scattered across a hallway (the scene is 3-4 minutes easily). Viewers are shown graphic closeups of the bodies’ wounds, cuts, and the like—as well as a meat cleaver in the forehead. In another scene, another person is graphically shot in the eye and face. An individual is shot in the back with a shotgun, then shot in the face, execution style, killing him. A man points a gun at him and a kid points a gun at him (the kid laters shoots him in the back in a haphazardly manner). A man points a gun at his own head and considers commiting suicide.

We witness flashbacks of someone commiting violent acts, including slashing people’s throats. A man is thrown against a fridge, has his head shoved into a bucket of ice and then is thrown to the ground and beaten severely. An elderly man is thrown out a window and hung. A man’s business and hom) is burned to the ground by the Camara family. An officer is hit over the head, kicked in the stomach and punched in the face in front of his wife and daughter. In the same scene, his wife and daughter are threatened with a gun.

In another scene a character grabs a guy’s arm and twists it, compressing his nerves and causing severe pain in the process. In an incredibly graphic moment, a car with a deceased driver in it is seen careening toward an individual and is nailed against a wall, killing him. A main character is graphically stabbed multiple times and dies. People are shot during a raid.

In another incredibly shocking moment, a man has his hand cut off (offscreen, thankfully), but we witness his severed hand and his arm minus the hand. There is a bombing at a police station (people have severe injuries from it and a character is sent to the hospital). People are assassinated in the most brutal and violent of ways in the dark (so graphic that I won’t even mention it here). A dead body falls through the ceiling. A man’s decapitated head falls off his body. A man who has been poisoned slowly dies in an incredibly painful manner as another character watches.

VULGARITY: F**k (4), M*ther-F**ker (1), F**king (2), Sh*t (3), Bulls*t (1), Sh*t on yourself (1), B*stardi (Italian for B*stard) (1), P*ss me Off (2)

NUDITY: A wife is seen in a short shirt and panties. We see naked male and female statues in a mansion (the anatomy is visible.)

DRUGS: We see a number of clear packets of pills that contain an illegal synthetic amphetamine. Drug runners, we hear, are smuggling it into Italy and selling around the world. Several men smoke cigarettes.

ALCOHOL: Characters drink wine at dinner. We see multiple bottles of wine and champagne in restaurants and other areas.

OTHER: Police officers are depicted as corrupt. Depiction of extortion and violent threats and theft. We view bloody closeups of a wound during surgery.

Moral Issues

There are some redeeming qualities of the character Robert. Once he falls head over heels in love with Altamonte, he is willing to do just about anything to take care of it. He engages with the locals, he supports them, he laughs with them, he parties with them, and he protects them.

In one of many climactic moments, Robert is willing to sacrifice himself to the Camorra family so that Altamonte civilians might be spared. Does this remind anyone of a certain Biblical figure of great significance? His name starts with a J?

Yes, the Lord Jesus laid down his life for us all so that we might be spared the ultimate price, eternal death—separation from God forever. The Lord Jesus, the perfect living example, went through the most horrific punishment JUST FOR US, because He loves us and wants us to be with Him in paradise.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:8

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” —John 3:16-17

And since Christ died for us, when we accept Him as our savior He lives in us and walks with us, promising never to leave us.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” —Galatians 2:20

Q & A

What is spiritual regeneration (being born-again)? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on Christian Answers—full-length motion picture.

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer


I went to an 8pm showing and there were four other individuals in the theater. During the truly graphic, grotesque and shocking moments I actually shouted, “Oh my gosh,” and when I looked around me not a single person moved a muscle or seemed to be phased by it. Perhaps that’s the real horror. The desensitization to brutal violence.

“The Equalizer 3” is a prime example of what NOT to watch. No Christian should consider watching such violence for entertainment, period. I strongly discourage teens from viewing this film, and this is definitely NOT a film for children. Bottom line? Go do something better with your time.

  • Violence: Extreme
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy
  • Nudity: Moderate
  • Sex: None
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate
  • Profane language: None
  • Occult: None
  • Wokeism: None

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

cinema tickets. ©  Alexey SmirnovEvery time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article

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Secular Movie Critics
…Kill, rinse, repeat. …More numbingly violent vengeance… the real porn in these movies is strictly of the snuff film variety… cinematic bloodlust accompanied by an abrasive musical score that sounds like electronic fingernails on a blackboard…
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
…forgettable, gory thriller… a hysterical hunger for carnage in turns fun and sickening, just a notch or two away from the high standard set by “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.” Fuqua and cinematographer Robert Richardson go out of their way to show us the wanton gore… [2]
Charles Bramesco, The Guardian [UK]
…Make no mistake, “The Equalizer 3” is hot garbage. …cinematographer Robert Richardson…captures the actor [Washingtonn] from extreme low angles, a la John Ford, painting heroic compositions. The problem, however, is they’ve made McCall so vicious we’re not quite sure if we should be rooting for him to kill. …[1]
Robert Daniels,
…Denzel Washington’s vengeance machine shows signs of age… [1½]
Oliver Jones, Observer (NYC)
…underwhelming slaughterfest… the flurries of pointlessly sadistic violence are jaggedly dispensed, botching the build-up. …[2]
Tim Robey, The Telegraph [UK]
…For those who can tolerate—or better yet, relish—extreme violence…
Kyle Smith, The Wall Street Journal
…The action sequences are straightforward and harsh… “The Equalizer 3” is the messiest of the three movies and the most narratively fractured… [2½]
James Berardinelli, ReelViews